Vocalist Amanda McBroom returns to Wolf Trap with list of songs that are romantic and edgy. Some are from her deep repertoire, while others are fresh, right off the keyboard. Between the timbre of her voice and the emotions she expresses so beautifully, it is impossible to mistake her for another singer.

"I'm always drawn to a song for its story," she said. "That's because I started as an actress and look at songs like little movies that go from Act I to Act III. My friend and collaborator, Michele Brourman, and I are coming with a program that will perfectly suit the audience at Wolf Trap, one of our favorite places to perform. Our songs are our children. We sometimes put them into a trunk for a while and when we open the lid, they might have a beard. But that makes them all the more interesting."

McBroom is known as the composer and ultimate interpreter of "The Rose," the song that begged to be written as she was driving home one day. It lay fallow until Brourman submitted it to the producer of a movie by the same name that was about to be released. History was made when singer Bette Midler introduced it in the film based on the life of Janis Joplin.

Since penning that classic, McBroom has written constantly. Sometimes the objective is a creative lyric; more often it is for her own pleasure. By now, the literary side of her creativity has taken wing and her deliciously sophisticated poetry will soon be published in a book.

Onstage
Amanda McBroom
Where: The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Info: $25; 877-965-3872; wolftrap.org

To her fans, McBroom is the ultimate cabaret performer. Her eclectic programs allow her to breathe new life into some of her "children," to introduce recently discovered gems and to revisit the forever contemporary Jacques Brel whose songs tell stories that captured her cabaret instincts from the outset.

"I'd never heard of him, but went to San Francisco with a friend to see the 1969 production of 'Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.' I was so struck by his music that I grabbed my guitar, auditioned for a part and was accepted."

Whether performing on Broadway or in intimate cafes, her ultimate goal is to deliver a song or a program that connects with the audience.

"I love singing in every kind of venue as long as people listen," she said. "Just so I don't have to sing over pasta and the sounds of plates and big trucks rolling by. I performed in Chicago during a blizzard and offered to leave so people could get home. We ended up having a wonderful private party."